Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

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The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

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Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

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Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

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Hope's Rebellion

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Writing 101 Redux: Paragraph Indents

Do you use the tab button when you're writing a book? After you read today's TBT Writing 101 post, you won't do that anymore.

In today's Throwback Thursday writing tip, I'm going to explain why the tab space is the Devil's own invention.

Writing 101: Fear of Commitment

It isn’t easy to devote yourself to one story, just one story, when there are so many stories that want to be told. On Monday, you may get an amazing idea for a story that’s been brewing in your mind for a while. But on Thursday, you may figure out the answer to some nagging plot question on that novel you’ve been working on since January. When you find yourself writing a bunch of different projects at the same time and finishing none of them, you need to ask yourself a question: do you have a fear of commitment? 

Sticking it Out

I’ve worked on three different books in as many months, and when I look back at my progress for each one I’m always surprised by how little there is. I work on one story, start thinking about another and switch to it. It’s a good way to get all my ideas down when I’m having them. It’s a terrible way to write a book. Sometimes, authors need to commit to just one project. Otherwise, you might not get any of them finished. 

Writing 101: Are You A Modern-Day Playwright?

Different writers have different writing strengths. That’s the nature of the business. Sometimes, writing a novel may not be the best way to showcase your writing strengths. Maybe you are a modern-day playwright.


Not all writers are strong narratively. It's tedious, and never easy, to describe actions and settings in a way that other people will enjoy. But you may still have stories to tell. Maybe you aren't meant to write novels. Maybe you're a screenwriter.

Maybe Sylvia Plath Was Onto Something....

If I told you that I'm about to write a book about a suicidal girl with writer’s block who obsesses about the execution of strangers, you might decide right away that you aren't going to read that book because it sounds depressing. Well, the fact is that this is already a book,and you are absolutely right. It's one of the most depressing books ever written, and everyone knows it. Sylvia Plath was depressed and suicidal, and she wrote the book about it. 

When it Shouldn't Work

Seriously, "The Bell Jar" is $&@!ing dark. At one point in the story, the main character goes around asking people how they would kill themselves. The book is so linked with depression, "bell jar" has becomes synonym for being depressed. And from a publishing standpoint, that really doesn't sound like a story that should work. But it did. Sylvia Plath's book is a big bestseller that's still read today. I own two copies of the damn thing, in fact. And I know exactly why this totally depressing book worked so well.

Writing 101 Redux: POV

In life, point of view can change everything. It's the same way for books. The point of view you choose for your story will pretty much determine everything about how that story is told. That's pretty serious stuff. So before you commit to a POV, explore all your options with this vintage Writing 101 post that lays it all out pretty clearly. 

When you're done with this post about POV, feel free to read it from the bottom up. After all, changing your point of view can make all the difference.

Writing 101: 5 Movies All Writers Should Watch

Yes, I am aware that the title sounds weird. Writing and movies, as any novel reader will tell you, rarely go well together. Adaptations have a way of disappointing all readers. But these 5 films aren't necessarily adaptations. They're movies about writers and writing, and they actually get it pretty right. Watch these films, and learn several valuable lessons about being a writer.

Jade's Top 5

Writers write a lot about writing. Heck, even I do it. I have actually advised against using this as a story element. In almost all cases, stories about writers are boring. You and I both know there is nothing exciting about writing. You're just sitting there typing. Sometimes, I might get up to pace around a very small area like a mad tiger, but this is really more maddening than fascinating. But in these 5 films, writing is something that's worth watching.

Writing 101: Depression

Doctors sometimes lose patients in the operating room, and it's hard on them. Counselors absorb other people’s problems, and listen to terrible tales of trauma. Actors tap into their deepest emotions and recall their most painful memories, all for the sake of the performance. Writing is one of those jobs that can get you down sometimes, like these others. It's important to keep the business of writing in perspective. This is how you will avoid depression. 

No, I Reject You

If I saved every single rejection letter I've ever received, I would probably have to move from my home to save space for the storage. I've been fired from more writing jobs than most people have ever had. And I've received some comments from real readers that made me want to set something on fire. Like maybe my laptop.

Writing can be a bit depressing like this. 

Am I Turning into Emily Dickinson?

In my neverending game of which writer am I comparing myself to now, I’ve realized that I may be turning into Emily Dickinson -- without the poetry and the super creepy death imagery, I hope. Not to say that any writer wouldn’t want to be like Emily Dickinson. But for the record, she did die unpublished and lived most of her life in her room. And maybe I’m becoming like her. 

There are worse fates.

They Called Me to the Window, For

Emily Dickinson sat in her room, looked out her window, and wrote poems about the house across the street. She penned poetry on a few other topics, as well, and never shied away from frankly looking at death. I think that on the surface, anyone would be a little bit leery of the young woman who never comes out of her bedroom and writes poetry about death. Because it’s weird, or at least it’s not quite the average. Emily Dickinson was what’s known as a recluse. She shut herself away and isolated herself from the rest of the world. The only reason that it’s not considered to be totally insane is because Emily Dickinson was a brilliant poet. We’ve been trained to accept that genius and insanity belong together.

But I’m learning that being insane does not also make you a genius. In most all cases, it just makes you insane. And sometimes, I question my own sanity. After all...I am a writer.